Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Songs in a Different Key

Leaves crunching underfoot or rattling like sabres, ice crystals limning fences, blowsy plumes of frosted grasses, leaf strewn puddles on the trail—all are plangent leitmotifs in the windy musical work that is late autumn. At this time of the year, the woodland is an Aeolian harp, a vast musical instrument that only the wind can play.

The landscape is settling slowly into the subdued tints of early winter: bronzes, creams, beiges and silvery greys, small splashes of winey red, burgundy, russet, here and there touches of a deep inky blue almost iridescent in its sheen and intensity.

On our morning walks, frost forms sugary drifts on old wood along our path, dusts ferns and outlines fallen leaves almost transparent in their lacy textures. An owl's artfully barred feather lies in thin sunlight under the fragrant cedars down by the spring and seems to be giving off a graceful, pearly light of its own. The weedy residents of forest, field and fen cavort in fringed and tasseled hats.

One needs another lens and tuning for late autumn and early winter, a different sort of vision, songs in a different key. The senses are performing a seasonal shift of their own, moving carefully from longer, brighter days and grand summer happenings into the consideration of things small, still and muted, but complete within themselves and perfect, even when they are cold and wet and tattered.

There is light in the world, even in these dark times, and I have to remember that. My camera and lens never forget, and out in the woods, they drink in light like nectar. I am thankful that they do and that they remind me at every turning along on the trail—we are made of star stuff. We live in a sea of light.


Barbara Rogers said...

Your words are always a delight...it's like turning a few degrees with my full body, just look over there...yes, that's a difference, a wholeness, a peaceful place I needed.

Jim Cummings said...

Beautifully sung….and a harbinger from a couple weeks or so ahead on the path, as we await our first real frosty mornings here in southern Maine…